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Dissent (magazine)
Dissent-Winter-1961cover.jpg
Type Quarterly newsmagazine of politics and culture
Format Magazine
Publisher Foundation for the Study of Independent Social Ideas
Founded 1954
Headquarters 310 Riverside Drive, Suite 2008
New York, NY 10025
Circulation 10,000+
Official website www.dissentmagazine.org

Dissent is an intellectual quarterly edited by Michael Walzer and Michael Kazin. Founded in 1954 by a group of New York Intellectuals, which included Irving Howe, Lewis A. Coser, Henry Pachter, and Meyer Schapiro, the magazine set out to "dissent from the bleak atmosphere of conformism that pervades the political and intellectual life of the United States." [1] Howe and other co-founders had grown dissatisfied with the political and intellectual climate of the post-war era. Critical of the Communist Party in the U.S. and its support for the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin, they established the magazine to espouse social democratic values, critique contemporary politics and culture, and oppose both Soviet totalitarianism and McCarthyism in the U.S. Its contributing editors and writers offered a range of left, liberal, democratic socialist, and anti-communist views, and the magazine's writing was marked by both its long essays on the state of domestic and foreign politics but also the growing conformity of American culture.[2]

From its inception, Dissent's politics deviated from the standard ideological positions of the left and right. Throughout the Cold War, its editors and contributors were rigorously anti-Communist, condemning the political and moral atrocities of the USSR and China, and calling into question the Marxist contention that culture is at the service of politics. Dissent was critical of the Communist experiments in Cuba and Vietnam, and maintained that the left's mandate was to defend liberal and democratic values as well as socialist ones. Generally, this manifested in a pragmatic approach to politics.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Dissent’s skepticism toward Third-World revolutions, national liberation theories, and the culture of the New Left isolated it from student movements, but its commitment to liberal internationalism and social egalitarianism — in particular, when it came to labor and civil rights issues — separated it from both the mainstream liberalism and the growing neoconservative movement.

Although Dissent still identifies itself with the liberal and social democratic values of its founders, its editors and contributors represent a broad spectrum of political outlooks. The "hawkish" liberalism of Paul Berman is printed alongside the exuberant Marxism of Marshall Berman. Recently, its writers were divided over the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Michael Walzer opposed the invasion while criticizing the rhetoric of the anti-war movement and Mitchell Cohen supported intervention while remaining critical of the Bush administration.

According to an article written in 2004, Dissent "has a circulation ranging from 8,000 to 10,000 and an annual budget of $250,000, which pays 60 to 65 percent of its operating costs. During its 50 years of publication, costs have always been covered by fund-raising and donations."[3]

In popular culture

In Annie Hall by Woody Allen, the following exchange mentions Dissent

Alvy: I'm so tired of spending evenings making fake insights with people who work for Dysentery.
Robin: Commentary.
Alvy: Oh, really? I heard that Commentary and Dissent had merged and formed Dysentery.

Editorial board members and contributors

External links

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